“Bridesmaids” is not a romantic comedy. Sure, it’s a comedy, and I’ll grant that romance may make an appearance, but protagonist Annie (Kristen Wiig) is no traditional romcom heroine: regardless of whether she gets her guy, she doesn’t him. It’s less about how a lonely girl is saved by her Prince Charming, and more about how a hot mess of a maid of honor navigates the murky waters of friendship and manages to save herself. Above all, though, it’s a story about girl love, equipped with all the heart-warming appeal of Apatow’s classic bromance but with a female cast (Is there a term for that? A girlmance?).
It’s immediately obvious the screenplay was written by women — the heroines aren’t the traditional “quirky!” female leads you’d find in any Kate Hudson or Katherine Heigl romcom. Where most women in these sorts of movies are sweet and silly in a controlled, effortlessly attractive way, these characters are full of actual flaws (though I did choke a bit listening to the rail-thin Kristen Wiig complain that her rival was skinnier than her). “Bridesmaids” isn’t afraid to reveal that ladies aren’t exactly the delicate flowers Hollywood so often portrays them as (I know, spoiler alert, right?), but still manages to avoid the caricaturized “strong female character” trope. Annie isn’t Cinderella, but she isn’t Lara Croft, either.
The movie’s strength is in its characters. Each of the bridesmaids is fantastic: Wendi McLendon-Covey’s Rita (a crude, jaded housewife) and Ellie Kemper’s Becca (a saccharine-sweet newlywed) have an absurd rapport. And Rose Byrne’s Lillian, that one impossibly flawless friend you can’t stand, perfects the craft of snooty one-upmanship.
“SNL” vets Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph have fantastic on-screen chemistry, probably from years of performing together on the live sketch show. Some of the most hilarious scenes in the movie flow effortlessly thanks to the pair’s natural camaraderie.
Other great bits to look out for include Wiig’s drug-and-alcohol induced breakdown on a plane; Annie’s snotty but clueless roommates and above all else, every ridiculous over-the-top event planned by Annie’s archrival Helen.
However, like many Apatow movies, the movie took the low road with a couple of jokes, namely a scene in which the bridesmaids get food poisoning at the same time and proceed to vomit on each other and violently excrete into a sink — it probably could have been done with a little more class. The film set the scene up well but lingered just a few moments too long.
At the end of the day, “Bridesmaids” is as funny as any other Apatow bromance, using the traditional formula but evading the sort of been-there-done-that vibe that his movies have been giving off as of late thanks to the female perspective. However, it’s definitely a flick worth viewing for both girls and guys.